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Fiji Time: 23:58, Saturday 19th Apr 2014
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Claims that Aust/NZ tried to undermine PIDF 09 Aug


Prime Minister of Timor Leste Xanana Gusmao

There are claims that Australia and New Zealand tried to undermine Fiji’s efforts to hold the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum.

Sources have revealed to Fijivillage that Australia’s Defence Minister had allegedly said to the Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao not to attend the new Pacific Forum in Nadi earlier this week.

However, Gusmao attended the meeting and was the keynote speaker in the forum.

Fijian Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has told Radio NZ that Fiji knows that Australia and NZ was campaigning against the government and were asking Pacific leaders not to attend the Pacific Islands Development Forum.

He said the leaders told the Fijian government about these attempts.

Questions have also been raised about the non-attendance of the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill.

O’Neill had earlier assured Fiji during Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s visit to PNG that he would attend the forum.

O’Neill did not attend as he had a state visit to New Zealand this week.

A minister of O’Neill’s government, Charles Abel attended the forum and said that no one had tried to stop O’Neill from attending.

14 out of the 23 countries invited, attended the meeting.

It has been hailed as a major success with work already underway for the setting up of the secretariat and the first side meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York next month.

Meanwhile, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has also made it clear that high level diplomatic exchanges between Fiji and New Zealand will not happen until after the elections next year because he said NZ continues to campaign against Fiji.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

Has Australia lobbied against Fiji? 08 Aug


Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Glenn Miles

Acting Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Glenn Miles is denying that the Australian government has been working behind the scenes and trying to block UN peacekeeping operations for Fiji and development loans from the World Bank and the ADB.

Fijivillage has questioned Miles why the Australian government has tried to block the loans and peacekeeping operations.

Miles admits that they have consultations with these multi lateral bodies on a number of issues but he said specific representations have not been made.

Miles said the ADB and the World Bank is now doing preliminary studies on how it can support Fiji.

He said Australia is supporting this move.

However, in an earlier interview with Fijivillage, Fiji’s Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the Australian government is not behaving like a friend as it is trying to hurt Fiji.

Fijivillage has analyzed a number of statements on whether Australia has lobbied for decisions to be made against Fiji.

In 2009, it was clearly stated and widely reported when Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that his government had successfully lobbied the United Nations to ban future deployments of Fijian troops in UN peacekeeping missions.

At the time, Rudd had said that the UN will not engage future or new Fijian troops for new operations.

However, this is now unsuccessful as the UN has acknowledged Fiji’s peacekeeping efforts and more than 500 Fiji soldiers are now serving in the Golan Heights.

On June 22nd, 2007, Fiji’s Interim Finance Minister at the time, Mahendra Chaudhry had accused Australia of trying to sabotage Fiji’s economy by undermining Fiji’s loan arrangements with world lenders.

At the time Chaudhry said Australia has also tried to undermine Fiji’s economy through multilateral institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. 

He said Australia was effectively blocking Fiji’s systems of loan arrangements through these banks to Fiji.

In May this year, an Australian economist also said publicly that Australia has been secretly vetoing loans to Fiji from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank since the coup in 2006.

Stephen Howes from the Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre said there has been no lending from either institution since December 2006.

We have requested an interview with Australian Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr on these matters.

Questions have been sent to Carr’s office in Canberra through the Australian High Commission.

However, we have not received a reply on whether Carr will speak to us.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

Pacific Islands Development Forum secretariat to be set up in Fiji 07 Aug


Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama

A new Pacific forum is born.

Our News Director Vijay Narayan has more from the inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum at Sheraton Fiji Resort.

History has been created today with the new Pacific Islands Development Forum secretariat to be set up in Fiji.

This has been announced after discussions with various Pacific leaders at the first ever forum in Nadi.

Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said Fiji is ready to host the secretariat at the former Film and TV Unit building located in Domain Road in Suva.

Following a standing ovation from the audience which included Pacific island leaders, ministers, civil society and business representatives, Commodore Bainimarama also stressed that the new forum will be totally different as for the first time leaders will come to the table together with the business and civil society representatives to ensure that issues in relation to climate change and sustainable development are always discussed with appropriate actions taken.

He also highlighted that the forum will live within its means and focus on results.

Commodore Bainimarama said it will not be an expensive facility with many overpaid people.

It has also been announced that many countries from outside the region have already offered a significant amount of funding for the setting of the forum and the new secretariat.

Nauru, Kiribati and Solomon Islands commended the move.

Fiji Employers Federation’s Nesbitt Hazelman also welcomed the setting up of the Pacific Islands Development Forum on behalf of the members of the Employer's Federation. 

It has also been confirmed that the new forum is already invited to a side event on the margins of the next UN General Assembly in New York next month.

Story by: Vijay Narayan in Denarau

Historic announcement for the Pacific expected 07 Aug


Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama at the Pacific Islands Development Forum

A historic and exciting announcement for the Pacific is expected at the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum later today.

Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama who has been called as the champion of this new initiative is expected to make the announcement.

He hinted this in a reception at the Westin in Denarau last night.

Fijivillage understands

Issues to be considered include the governance structure, funding strategy, work program and the setting up of the new forum secretariat

Commodore Bainimarama has already said that the small island territories have not had a direct say and neither have civil society groups and businesses in previous forums.

The Prime Minister said the people most affected by government decisions - the grassroots and their representatives - have largely been excluded from the decision making process.

He said the Pacific needs a new body and a new framework of cooperation.

The Prime Minister said the existing regional structure for the past four decades - the Pacific Islands Forum - is for Governments only and has also come to be dominated only by a few.

Commodore Bainimarama stressed that the international community must face up to its responsibilities to tackle the issue of climate change, which threatens the very existence of some of our nations.

He also welcomed some of the world's biggest and richest nations, who are in Fiji as observers.

Some of these countries like China, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have also contributed towards the funding of this first ever forum.

Pacific island leaders and ministers from the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are attending the meeting.

Story by: Vijay Narayan in Denarau

Fiji essential in regional discussions - Lilo 06 Aug


Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo

"Fiji cannot be left out of discussions on the region anymore."

This has been made clear by Solomon Islands to Australia.

Our News Director, Vijay Narayan has more from the venue of the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum in Nadi.

Fiji is needed in any discussions on the South Pacific.

Speaking to Legend FM News during the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum in Nadi, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo said Fiji is the major player in the Pacific and nothing much can be achieved if Fiji is left out of any regional discussions.

Lilo said the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum also has to think along these lines.

Lilo also sent a clear message that Fiji should be included in the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum.

Meanwhile, Fijian Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says the existing regional structure for the past four decades - the Pacific Islands Forum - is for Governments only and has also come to be dominated only by a few.

Commodore Bainimarama stresses that the international community must face up to its responsibilities to tackle the issue of climate change, which threatens the very existence of some of our nations.

He said the Pacific is not interested in the excuses of the carbon-emitting countries selfishly trying to protect their own economies by refusing to sign up to emission targets. 

However, he said this will not happen anymore as the Pacific Islands Development Forum recognises that Governments do not have all the answers.   

Story by: Vijay Narayan in Denarau

We will not let them in - Lilo 06 Aug


Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo

"We will not let them in."

This has been made clear by Solomon Islands to Australia.

Our News Director, Vijay Narayan has more from the venue of the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum in Nadi.

There are revelations today that the Australian government had approached the Solomon Islands government to take in the asylum seekers going to Australia.

This has been revealed in an exclusive interview with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo.

We asked Lilo what his government has decided as there have been reports that the Kevin Rudd led government has approached the governments of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to take in the boatpeople arriving in Australia.

Lilo said this will not happen.

Lilo had stressed that the Australian government needs to have consultations with the Pacific island countries and cannot push this problem to some countries in the Pacific.

The Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama led government has also demanded for Australian to have talks with the Pacfic island leaders on the issue.

The Fijian government said this cannot be forced on the people of Fiji.

Story by: Vijay Narayan in Denarau

It is unfortunate certain Pacific countries are not in Forum-PM05 Aug


Fijian Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama speaking at the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum

Fijian Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said it is unfortunate that certain Pacific countries are not in the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum that is focusing on leadership for Green and Blue Pacific Economies.

Our News Director, Vijay Narayan reports from Sheraton Fiji Resort.

While speaking at the Sheraton Fiji Resort, Commodore Bainimarama said some of the countries have chosen to regard the Forum as a political event rather than grasp its true purpose - which is to address the very real threat that the Pacific people face and could be catastrophic if the Pacific don't act in a an unselfish manner.

He said time is running out and the forum should deliver outcomes that are achievable, affordable and tailored to meet the Pacific's specific needs.

Commodore Bainimarama said today sees a new era of regional cooperation, solidarity and friendship.

While speaking to leaders and ministers from the 14 Pacific Island countries, a number of observers, members of the NGO's and the private sector, Commodore Bainimarama made it clear that until now, sovereign governments have largely determined how the Pacific will respond to its many challenges.

He said the small island territories have not had a direct say and neither have civil society groups and businesses.

The Prime Minister said the people most affected by government decisions - the grassroots and their representatives - have largely been excluded from the decision-making process.

He said the Pacific needs a new body and a new framework of cooperation.

The Prime Minister said the existing regional structure for the past four decades - the Pacific Islands Forum - is for Governments only and has also come to be dominated only by a few.

Commodore Bainimarama stressed that the international community must face up to its responsibilities to tackle the issue of climate change, which threatens the very existence of some of our nations.

He said the Pacific is not interested in the excuses of the carbon-emitting countries selfishly trying to protect their own economies by refusing to sign up to emission targets.

Commodore Bainimarama also welcomed some of the world's biggest and richest nations, who are in Fiji as observers.

Some of these countries like China, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have also contributed towards the funding of this first ever forum.

Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao also said the Pacific is starting on a historic journey with the start of the new forum.

He said the voices of the Pacific will not be heard if a country is speaking alone.

Pacific island leaders and ministers from the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are attending the meeting.

Story by: Vijay Narayan in Denarau

Pacific needsa new body and a new framework of cooperation-PM05 Aug


The Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama greets the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong

The historic and inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum meeting is now underway with a challenging message from Fijian Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama for the Pacific countries to unite and ensure that decisions are made for the people of the countries.

Our News Director, Vijay Narayan reports from Sheraton Fiji Resort.

Commodore Bainimarama said today sees a new era of regional cooperation, solidarity and friendship.

While speaking to leaders and ministers from the 14 Pacific island countries, a number of observers, members of the NGO's and the private sector at the Sheraton Fiji Resort, Commodore Bainimarama made it clear that until now, sovereign governments have largely determined how the Pacific will respond to its many challenges.

He said the small island territories have not had a direct say and neither have civil society groups and businesses.

The Prime Minister said the people most affected by government decisions - the grassroots and their representatives - have largely been excluded from the decision-making process.

He said the Pacific needs a new body and a new framework of cooperation.

The Prime Minister said the existing regional structure for the past four decades - the Pacific Islands Forum - is for Governments only and has also come to be dominated only by a few.

Commodore Bainimarama stressed that the international community must face up to its responsibilities to tackle the issue of climate change, which threatens the very existence of some of our nations.

He said the Pacific is not interested in the excuses of the carbon-emitting countries selfishly trying to protect their own economies by refusing to sign up to emission targets.

However he said this will not happen anymore as the Pacific Islands Development Forum recognises that Governments do not have all the answers.

He said we cannot merely prescribe solutions to the challenges we face in keeping the Pacific Green and Blue, with the real threat of climate change.

Commodore Bainimarama also welcomed some of the world's biggest and richest nations, who are in Fiji as observers.

Some of these countries like China, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have also contributed towards the funding of this first ever forum.

The Commodore Bainimarama said they must act and act now.

Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Xanana Gusmao also said the Pacific is starting on a historic journey with the start of the new forum.

He said the voices of the Pacific will not be heard if a country is speaking alone.

Pacific island leaders and ministers from the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are attending the meeting.

Story by: Vijay Narayan in Denarau

Fiji welcome delegates to Pacific Islands Development Forum 05 Aug

Welcome to Fiji.


The Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama greets the President of Timor Leste Xanana Gusmao

The traditional welcome ceremony for Pacific Island leaders is currently underway in the historic and first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum at the Denarau Golf and Racquet grounds.

The guard of honor ceremony for the leaders by the RFMF has just finished.

Leaders and ministers from the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea are getting ready for the Forum which will focus on Leadership and Green Growth.

Observers from various countries will join the leaders and ministers of 14 countries from the Pacific region, plus NGOs and business leaders for the three day summit at the Sheraton Resort, Denarau.

Special envoys are also here from China, Russia and a range of countries such as Chile and Cuba and government ministers are also here from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

The chief guest is the President of Timor Leste Xanana Gusmao.

Stay with us for developments and discussions at the first ever Pacific Islands Development Forum hosted by Fiji.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

25 countries to start their 3 day meet today 05 Aug


The traditional welcome ceremony for Pacific Island leaders

Twenty five countries will start their 3 day meeting today of the inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum meeting in Nadi.

The observers will join the leaders and ministers of 14 countries from the Pacific region, plus NGOs and business leaders for the three day summit at the Sheraton Resort, Denarau.

Special envoys are coming from China, Russia and a range of countries such as Chile and Cuba and government ministers are being sent to represent the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

Some of the external observers are contributing to the cost of the event.

The chief guest is the President of Timor Leste Xanana Gusmao.

The Pacific leaders attending are the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Nauru, the Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia plus senior ministers from a range of other Pacific nations and territories.

The Pacific Islands Development Forum will also include NGOs, business leaders and civil society groups from throughout the region.

Story by:Gwen Mc Goon


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